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New EU regulations: buying a drone

screscre

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Hello everybody!

I currently own a little Tello and I'd like to purchase a more serious drone for hobby use.

I'm heading towards getting a Mavic Mini, however I deep dived into the new EU regulations, and I'm wondering:

is it a good moment to buy a new drone in Europe, when looking at the requirements manufacturers are supposed to comply to in the near future?

I'm talking about requirements like clearly stating which class the drone falls into (C0, C1, C2, etc), plus technical requirements like geo-fencing.

Apparently drones that don't follow these new specifications are only allowed until 2022, then they will fall into the A3 category which severely limits flights.

Is there any news from the main drone brands about complying to the new EU regulations?

Thank you!
 
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You’re spot on. I was going to buy a Mavic Zoom, then I read the new regulations.

None of the current DJI drones will comply with the new regulations as they don’t have;

noise limitations (I'm not sure to what level)
- a remote ID
- a form of geo awareness
- a low-speed mode which limits the maximum speed of the aircraft to 3 m/s (approx 6.7 mph), which has to be operable by a switch/button on the remote

So, like you I’m waiting for something new from DJI that will comply. But, there’s no solid news yet.
 
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And beside DJIs, I don't see any other model that complies either (in the 400 to 700€/$ price range, that's it)
 
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And beside DJIs, I don't see any other model that complies either (in the 400 to 700€/$ price range, that's it)
I don't think there's anything currently on the market that does.
I want to take my A2 CotC certificate, but again - it's pointless until there's a drone that meets the criteria as it has to be renewed every five years.
 
Hi Lastrexking

Do you know if the EU drivel applies to the UK, now that we've have left the EU and will be fully out by the end of 2020

Regards
Waylander
 
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Do you know if the EU drivel applies to the UK, now that we've have left the EU and will be fully out by the end of 2020

Yes, it does. The CAA committed to applying the EASA regulations regardless of Brexit before we officially left and that stance has not changed. That was done probably more with an eye towards commercial operations, like delivery services, than private flyers though.

Not sure I'd class it as "drivel" either. You get to do *one* test and then you are qualified to fly anywhere in the EU with the same set of regulations and restrictions applying everywhere, and it removes the requirement for a PfCO if you want to legally make money via YouTube or whatever. From a pilot's perspective what's not to like in that? It's also been known for ages what the regulations are going to entail, and the planned application of it into regional laws too in many cases (the CAA has published a few CAPs on this now), so if you're irritated at the lack of compliant drones that's more on DJI et al not getting their products to market in a timely manner. At least DJI has already commited that all their future models will be fully compliant, not so sure about all the others.
 
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Hi Lastrexking

Do you know if the EU drivel applies to the UK, now that we've have left the EU and will be fully out by the end of 2020

Regards
Waylander
The UK does not have to implement the EU-Rules into national law anymore. Not a member of the EU, not bound to their regulations anymore.
BUT
it is unlikely that the UK will not implement similliar legislation, maybe even more restrictive.

EDIT:
Just saw the other reaction: The fact that the CAA has commited themself to implement the rules does not automaticly mean that they will do it in the same timeframe (implented untill midst of 2021).
 
Just saw the other reaction: The fact that the CAA has commited themself to implement the rules does not automaticly mean that they will do it in the same timeframe (implented untill midst of 2021).

We're using the same timeframe. The new EASA rules come into force in July this year, and the rules regarding legacy craft start from July 1st 2022.
 
Hi Lastrexking

Do you know if the EU drivel applies to the UK, now that we've have left the EU and will be fully out by the end of 2020

Regards
Waylander


Everything @zocalo said in the post above :) Didn't want you to think I was ignoring you.
 
You’re spot on. I was going to buy a Mavic Zoom, then I read the new regulations.

None of the current DJI drones will comply with the new regulations as they don’t have;

noise limitations (I'm not sure to what level)
- a remote ID
- a form of geo awareness
- a low-speed mode which limits the maximum speed of the aircraft to 3 m/s (approx 6.7 mph), which has to be operable by a switch/button on the remote

So, like you I’m waiting for something new from DJI that will comply. But, there’s no solid news yet.
The newer models of DJI aircraft have broadcast remote ID, doesn't help with the other requirements but here in the US it could become important depending on how the new remote ID requirements turn out.
 
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They do have geofencing that can be updated.
Is cinema/tripod mode not slow enough?
Even if it was - It needs to be able to be activated directly by a dedicated switch from the remote.
 
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That can be implemented very easy with firmware.

It could, but none if the current DJI drones meet the spec required beyond 2022, for many reasons.

The below is from UK training provider Heliguy, but the same information can be found in many other websites. I’ve hilighted the most pertinent information relating to this thread.


It has been recognised that manufacturers will need time to create products that are compliant with the new standards set out in each of the classes.

Therefore, the so-called transitional period will start in the summer and run until the end of June, 2022.
Then, from July, 1, 2022, onwards, drone products that are compliant with the Class C0 to C4 standards can be introduced for sale/used in the Open category.
However, 'legacy' aircraft, i.e. those released before the Class types were introduced, can still be flown in the A3 subcategory of the Open category.
In the meantime, the transitional arrangements are:

  1. Legacy unmanned aircraft (those that do not hold a class marking and were placed on the market before July 1, 2022 ie current DJI drones) may be used indefinitely in the Open category;

    - If less than 250g-within the subcategory A1 (fly over people).
    - If less than 25kg-within the subcategory A3 limits (fly far from people).
  2. Until July 1, 2022, additional transitional provisions have been made to enable:

    - Drones with a mass of less than 500g to be used in subcategory A1;
    - Drones with a mass of less than 2kg to be operated in subcategory A2 down to a horizontal distance of 50m from people-as long as the pilot has their A2 Certificate of Competency).
—————————-

None of this means current drones can’t be flown after 2022, but the distances thry can fly in relation to buildings and people will greatly increase compared to new models complying with the regulations.
 
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Something to specify: when they talk about grams, specifically "less than 250g", they are talking about MTOM (maximum take off mass), which is different than the overall drone weight.

So even the Mavic Mini apparently wouldn't make it, as a legacy drone, in the A1 category.
 
DJI seems to cover the low-speed requirement with 'Tripod mode' - but some newer models have this as a selectable 'Intelligent Flight mode'.
The Geofencing is already there on DJI drones - and they seem to lead in this field.
DJI are trying to get the WiFi 'Drone-to-Phone Remote ID' app' accepted so that legacy drones will have a form of compliance with remote ID ...
Strangely, my old Mavic Pro Platinum would be compliant with all three of these requirements, as it has a 'T' mode switch on the controller, it has the latest Geofencing software updates, and it would be compliant with 'Drone-to-Phone' ...

 
DJI seems to cover the low-speed requirement with 'Tripod mode' - but some newer models have this as a selectable 'Intelligent Flight mode'.
The Geofencing is already there on DJI drones - and they seem to lead in this field.
DJI are trying to get the WiFi 'Drone-to-Phone Remote ID' app' accepted so that legacy drones will have a form of compliance with remote ID ...
Strangely, my old Mavic Pro Platinum would be compliant with all three of these requirements, as it has a 'T' mode switch on the controller, it has the latest Geofencing software updates, and it would be compliant with 'Drone-to-Phone' ...

But, none of them hold a class marking, so even if all of the other issues were addressed by firmware the current drones would still technically fall outside of the specs. Which, is crazy - and expensive for us.
 
But, none of them hold a class marking, so even if all of the other issues were addressed by firmware the current drones would still technically fall outside of the specs. Which, is crazy - and expensive for us.

Yeah, at stands it's decidedly annoying. There are going to be a lot of people with perfectly good drones who are unable to fly them legally in the once the transition period expires because in many cases it would all but impossible to guarantee you wouldn't infringe on some of the proximity requirements during the flight. A lot of pilots are probably going to do so anyway of course, either wilfully or through ignorance, and especially so if there isn't much/any publicity of the regulations, let alone evidence of enforcement, during the interim.

There's also issues of practicality - is a police officer doing a spot check *really* going to be expected to know that they need to look for a category marking and know what it means when they find it? If not, then surely this is going to be all but unenforceable anyway since it's even less likely they'd be able to tell the difference between a non-compliant Mavic 2 and a fully compliant Mavic 3 just on the aircraft's appearance - or even know the distinction exists.

AFAICT, after June 2022 a police officer knowledgeable of all the requirements would be expected to establish:
  1. Whether the pilot passed the competency test (does the pilot have a valid Flyer ID?)
  2. Whether the pilot has passed any additional competency test (e.g. do they hold an A2 CofC?)
  3. Whether the aircraft's operator has been registered (does the aircraft have a valid Operator ID displayed on it?)
  4. What category the aircraft belongs in (is there a genuine category sticker present, and is it correct for the aircraft, or is it "Legacy"?)
  5. Was the aircraft being legally flown in accordance with *all* of the above at the time?
No, I can't see that happening either. I think it far more likely that if you're being given a stop and search because someone didn't like the way you are operating your drone and the officer thinks there is reasonable cause then you'd better be able to demonstrate all that yourself to the satisfaction of the police officer concerned or they're just going to seize the aircraft and let you sort it all out at the station later.
 
No, I can't see that happening either. I think it far more likely that if you're being given a stop and search because someone didn't like the way you are operating your drone and the officer thinks there is reasonable cause then you'd better be able to demonstrate all that yourself to the satisfaction of the police officer concerned or they're just going to seize the aircraft and let you sort it all out at the station later.

My car got broken into last April. I'd stupidly left all of my camera gear in there, my wallet and some money. It took the Police two days to come out and I never saw them again.

I genuinely can't see how they have time or resources to look into drone 'crime', and as you quite rightly point out, the knowledge of what craft are and aren't legal.

That said, I fully intend to fly within the law, get my A2 CofC and a new drone that fits within the new specs.
 
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